Coming of a riveting 3-3 draw in their tournament opener against Ecuador, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team continues play at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup on Thursday, May 25 as it meets Group F leaders Senegal, who defeated Saudi Arabia 2-0 in their first match, at Incheon Football Stadium in Incheon, Korea Republic. The middle match of group play will be televised live on FS1, FOX Sports Go and Telemundo En Vivo at 7 a.m. ET.
Here are five things you should know about Senegal:
How They Qualified
Senegal qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup by finishing as the runner-up at the 2017 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Zambia. Drawn into Group B, Senegal topped the four-team group to advance to the Semifinals and clinch its spot in the U-20 World Cup. Following a 1-1 draw with Sudan, Les Lions de la Teranga recorded a 4-3 victory against South Africa and a 2-0 win vs. Cameroon to win the group.
- READ MORE: U.S. Wins 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship
In the Semifinals, Senegal collected a 1-0 shutout against Guinea before falling 2-0 to host Zambia in the tournament Final.
U-20 World Cup History
Senegal is making just its second all-time appearance at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and second consecutive following its participation in the most recent edition two years ago.
- READ MORE: U.S. Draws 3-3 With Ecuador to Open 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup
- READ MORE: 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup Standings and Schedule
At the 2015 tournament in New Zealand, the Senegalese slipped through the group stage as a third-place qualifier before making a run in the Knockout Round to finish fourth. In the Round of 16, Senegal advanced past Ukraine on penalty kicks, 3-1. After a 1-0 Quarterfinal win against Uzbekistan, Senegal fell 5-0 to Brazil in the semifinals. The Senegalese finished the tournament with a 3-1 loss to regional rival Mali in the Third-Place Match.
A player for the Senegal National Team between 1980-86, Joseph Koto takes charge of the Senegal
U-20 team again after guiding them to its fourth-place finish in 2015. Under Koto’s guidance, Senegal has twice finished as runner-up at the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations. In 2012, Koto had a brief four-month stint as the head coach of the Senegal Men’s National Team. When describing his coaching style to FIFA.com, Koto described himself as “more as a doting father than a strict disciplinarian. To get results, I start a dialogue and I cajole the players rather than bashing them.”
Memories from Korea
Senegal’s biggest moment as a soccer nation occurred in 2002 when it qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the only time in its history. Like this year’s U-20 World Cup, that tournament took place in Korea Republic. In the tournament’s opening game in Seoul, Senegal stunned the soccer world when they upset defending champion France 1-0 on a first-half goal from Papa Bouba Diop.
Les Lions de la Teranga advanced out of the group and into the Round of 16 where they defeated Sweden 2-1 in extra time. Senegal’s magical World Cup run ended in the Quarterfinals when it fell to 1-0 to Turkey.
Along with 15 players based in Senegal, the roster also features players based in Egypt, France, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and Turkey.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Mouhamed Mbaye (FC Porto/POR), Idrissa Ndiaye (Diambars FC/SEN), Lamine Sarr (AS Dakar Sacre Coeur/SEN)
DEFENDERS (8): Souleymane Aw (Excellence Foot/SEN), Moussa Ba (Excellence Foot/SEN), Mamadou Diarra (Generation Foot/SEN), Waly Diouf (Valenciennes FC/FRA), Alioune Gueye (NGB Niarry Tally/SEN), Akhibou Ly (CNEPS Excellence/SEN), Mamadou Mbaye (AS Dakar Sacre Coeur/SEN), Jean Ndecky (Casa Sport/SEN)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Calvin Diagne (Darou Salam-ASMA/SEN), Krepin Diatta (Sarpsborg FK/NOR), Bamba Kane (Diambars FC/SEN), Souleye Sarr (Mbour Petite Cote FC/SEN)
FORWARDS (6): Aliou Badji (Djurgardens IF/SWE), Habib Gueye (Darou Salam-ASMA/SEN), Ibrahima Niane (Generation Foot/SEN), Ibrahima Ndiaye (Wadi Degla FC/EGY), Ousseymou Niang (Diambars FC/SEN), Mouhamed Pouye (Mbour Petite Cote FC/SEN)Read more
Following the U-20 MNT's dramatic 3-3 draw with Ecuador on Monday, goal scorer Luca De La Torre and captain Erik Palmer-Brown took to Facebook Live to discuss how things are going with the team in Korea Republic.
Watch the full session below and make sure to catch the USA's second match at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup vs. Senegal on Thursday, May 27 at 7 a.m. ET on FS1 and Telemundo.
Did you know that Luca De La Torre's goal in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time vs. Ecuador was the latest goal scored by a U.S. player at the FIFA U-20 World Cup? Click here to find out more about the Fulham attacker's historic strike.Read more
CHICAGO (May 22, 2017) – As part of its ongoing effort to make soccer the preeminent sport in the U.S. by developing world class players, coaches, and referees, U.S. Soccer has appointed the first group of Technical Advisors for the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy. This collection of coaches brings a wealth and variety of experience to the Academy environment.
“This is the next step in creating a better pathway for girls to navigate the club environment in this country,” Girls’ Development Academy director Miriam Hickey said. “We were able to acquire the most passionate and qualified individuals to fill these roles. These new Technical Advisors bring outstanding knowledge of the game in the U.S. and internationally. With a deep understanding of the standards required at the club, collegiate and professional level, the TAs will provide invaluable insight into preparing our elite young athletes for the highest levels.”
All the new Technical Advisors hold a U.S. Soccer or UEFA ‘A’ license. On a day-to-day basis, the TA’s will support the efforts of the clubs to elevate their everyday environment by providing consistent, meaningful feedback while helping identify players who deserve consideration for the Training Centers and the Youth National Teams. Creating synergy and partnerships with member clubs will be essential for the development of the players and the sport.
In their roles, they will manage the talent identification networks in their regions, which consist of U.S. Soccer scouts and collegiate coaches who attend training, games, and Academy showcases to identify elite talent. As the next step in the pathway, they will provide scouting reports and player-specific data to the Director of Talent Identification and Youth National Team Staffs.
U.S. Soccer will hire additional Technical Advisors to ensure all areas of the country are properly covered and clubs are supported to further player identification and development. Individuals interested in applying for the remaining Technical Advisor positions (Northeast, Mid-America, Northern California) can do so via this link.
Morgan Church (Southeast Division)
Morgan Church brings a rich and diverse background in the sport to the Academy, with a career spanning more than a decade as a coach, technical director, instructor and administrator in the Southeast region. Most recently, Church served as the Technical Director for the United Soccer Alliance where she designed the curriculum for teams to align with U.S. Soccer recommendations as well as the Community Programs Director for the Jacksonville Armada. Church was the first Assistant Women’s Soccer coach at Gonzaga University and also coached at Florida State University in 2016. Additionally, she has served as the Technical Director of Coaching for the Jacksonville Armada FC Youth and been a staff member for the U.S. Soccer Training Center and the Olympic Development Program.
Katie Cole (Frontier Division)
With a track record of developing and enhancing programs to improve player development and aiding high school aged athletes through the college recruiting process, Katie Cole fits superbly into the Technical Advisor role. A decorated four-year starter at the University of Texas at Austin, she began her coaching career as an assistant at the University of Louisville in 1998. After founding and operating a club in 2004 and serving as the Director of Coaching, Cole has been a part of the Arizona ODP program since 2005 and became an ODP Director in 2013. Additionally, Cole was a Region IV ODP age group coach and a part of the Arizona U.S. Soccer Training Center.
Diane Drake (Atlantic Division)
Diane Drake has logged more than 20 years as a college coach in the Atlantic region, specializing in motivational skills and developing relationships. After a five-year tenure at Georgetown University where she left as the winningest coach in the team’s history, Drake spent 11 years leading the women’s soccer program at George Mason University. Currently a public-school teacher in Fairfax County, Va., she most recently has been an integral part of the technical staff of the McLean Youth Soccer Association. As the founder of Drake Soccer Camps, she has created programs that integrate topics including: nutrition, injury prevention and regeneration, leadership and cognitive soccer areas. She has served on the NSCAA board of directors, chaired the NSCAA Mid Atlantic Rankings Committee and been on the NCAA RAC as well as the event management team for the NCAA College Cup. Drake had extensive playing career, winning NCAA Woman of the Year as captain with the University of Dayton, as well as MVP of the former Midwestern Collegiate Conference. She was an NSCAA Regional All-American in 1993. Later she would play for the Raleigh Wings in the USISL and win a national championship in 1998. Drake has also been a part of the U.S. Soccer National Training Centers in Virginia.
Marieke Laurens-van Tienhoven (Southwest Division)
Marieke Laurens-van Tienhoven holds a UEFA A license and has more than 16 years of professional experience at the club, high school, university and international level. A native of the Netherlands now residing in New Jersey, she worked closely with the coaches and players of the Dutch Women’s National Teams and was an assistant coach for the KNVB U-15 Girls National Team. Additionally, she coached U-14 through U-19 National Team Players at the Centre for Elite Sports and Education in Amsterdam on a daily basis. She served as a KNVB Academy Coach Educator, teaching the licenses for candidates who coach players from the U-5 to the U-19 age groups. In addition, Marieke contributed to the growth and success at Dutch Total Soccer through player identification, player development and coaches’ education. Simultaneously, she has been the head coach of ODP Region I teams and a member of the Super-Y League National Scouting Staff.
Zahra Lechak (Northwest Division)
Zahra Lechak brings both a scientific as well as a coaching background to the Technical Advisor role. She attended the University of Connecticut on a soccer scholarship and graduated with a degree in Molecular Cell Biology and Chemistry. She has since been a fixture in the Northwest soccer community, first as a head coach and course instructor for the Washington Youth Soccer Association. Beginning a four-year tenure on the Region IV ODP staff in 2010, she was the youngest head coach on staff and recruited elite players into the program. In 2014, she was named the U.S. Youth Soccer National Girls Competitive Coach of the Year. She served as the head assistant coach for the Seattle Sounders Women from 2013-15. Additionally, she was a founding member of Seattle United FC where she has been instrumental in developing and growing the girls program and in 2015 became the assistant Director of Coaching.
One of the U.S. Youth National Team's brightest prospects, forward Josh Sargent has made waves of late not only for the U-17 Men's National Team, but as part of the U.S. selection at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic.
Here are five things you should know about the O'Fallon, Mo., product.
St. Louis Bred
Hailing from the St. Louis suburb of O’Fallon, Josh Sargent made early plans when it came to soccer. According to his mother Liane, the future U-17 MNT forward learned how to kick a ball at age three and began telling friends and family that he was going to be a professional soccer player one day.
The soccer-rich environment of St. Louis certainly helped nurture those ambitions, but they were cultivated by his family as well. Both Liane and his father Jeff played collegiately, while his two sisters are also following in his footsteps in the game.
St. Louis Scott Gallagher
Sargent follows a long line of talent that suited up for powerhouse U.S. Soccer Development Academy Club St. Louis Scott Gallagher-Missouri, including current MNT defender Tim Ream, assistant coach Pat Noonan and former U.S. international Taylor Twellman.
- READ MORE: Sargent suits up for U-17 MNT against Scott Gallagher
- READ MORE: Sargent hat trick leads U-17 MNT past Turkey 7-1
Along with having a soccer family, Sargent credits the players and staff at SLSG for helping him reach the U.S. Youth National Team setup.
“It has been great these past few years. Playing in the Development Academy has really improved my game and the coaches know what they’re talking about,” Sargent told ussoccer.com last October. “The coaches are great guys. They’ve not only taught me how to be a better soccer player but how to become a better person overall. They are the type of people that will take care of you, mentor you, and show you what to do and how to do it.”
U.S. Youth National Teams
Having first appeared at a U-14 Training Camp in 2013, Sargent progressed on to the U-15 level where he notably took part in an international training camp in England in 2015.
Towards the end of that year, Sargent played for the rising U-15 Boys National Team at the 2015 Nike International Friendlies and then joined the U-17 MNT Residency Program. Prior to the 2017 FIFA U-17 Championship in April, Sargent amassed 14 goals and seven assists in 29 international matches, including his four goals and two assists during three matches as the U.S. won the 2016 Nike International Friendlies.
Sargent captained the U-17 MNT at this spring's regional World Cup Qualifying tournament, racking up five goals and two assists in five games as the U.S. finished as runners-up in the tournament. Sargent particularly impressed during the USA's 4-3 comeback win against Mexico during the Group Stage, tallying two goals, one of which made that night's SportsCenter Top 10.
WATCH: Josh Sargent's Stunning Individual Effort vs. Mexico
Making Professional Waves
Sargent’s play for the U-17 MNT has put him in the spotlight for more than a few professional clubs. Last Summer, the O’Fallen, Mo., product spent two weeks training with Sporting Kansas City, who has since been confirmed to hold his league rights should he decide to sign with M.L.S., but there could be other opportunities.
Later in October, Sargent took a week-long training spell with Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven – a club where current MNT left back DaMarcus Beasley got his European start. Then after training with the U-20 MNT in January, Sargent went on another stint with German club Schalke, where fellow U.S. youth internationals Haji Wright, Weston McKennie and Nicholas Taitague currently reside.
Days after helping the U.S. qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Sargent was named to Tab Ramos' final roster for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic. With the chance to become just the second player to appear in both U-17 and U-20 World Cup events during the same year, Sargent picked up where he left off, tallying two goals to lead the comeback in the USA's 3-3 draw with Ecuador to open proceedings in Korea.
At 17 years, 91 days, Sargent became the youngest player in U.S. history to score and just the sixth U.S. player to record a multi-goal game at the event.Read more
In 2008, Lauren Holiday, Tobin Heath and Amy Rodriguez, all 20-years-old or younger and teammates on the 2006 U-20 Women’s World Cup Team, were working to establish themselves on the U.S. WNT. They were the subject of a ussoccer.com video highlighting the talented youngsters and dubbing them, The New Kids.
Six years later, a new generation came into the fold, and in 2014, Lauren, Tobin and Amy passed the torch to the NEW New Kids: 22-year-old Julie Johnston, 21-year-old Morgan Brian and 22-year-old Crystal Dunn who were trying to make the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team and had all been teammates on the U.S. team that won the 2012 Under-20 Women’s World Cup,
Like their mentors before them, the careers and lives of Julie, Morgan and Crystal have seemed to intertwine.
The beginning of the story for these three can be traced back to 2008, when Dunn and Brian played in the first FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand – Dunn as a starter and Brian, the youngest player on the roster, as a reserve outside back.
Four years later, Brian, Dunn and Johnston helped the USA win the 2012 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship and then memorably played key roles as the USA won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan. Brian played all but 18 minutes, Johnston played all but 32, and Dunn played every minute of every game.
Dunn, Johnston and Brian at the 2012 U-20 FIFA Women's World Cup in Japan
During the tournament, Brian pulled the strings in a talented midfield and scored a goal in the semifinal against Nigeria, while as a right back Dunn had two huge assists – in the quarterfinal and championship matches – to lead the USA to victory. Johnston captained the squad and marshaled a stout U.S. defense that allowed only one goal in the knockout stages. She won the Bronze Ball as the third best player in the tournament, a rare feat for a defender. Their success on the youth level showed that these three had the potential for bright futures on the senior side, and they would all debut for the full WNT within a four-month span the following year.
Johnston and Dunn earned their first caps in the same week, just four days apart against Scotland. Johnston’s came on Feb. 9, 2013 while Dunn made her debut on Feb. 13, 2013. Brian quickly followed, earning her first cap on June 15, 2013 against the Korea Republic.
Brian and Dunn have played with each other since 2008, when they were teammates at the U-17 Women's World Cup
Together on the senior team, Brian and Johnston went on to win the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship. Dunn was initially named to the roster but suffered a mild MCL strain and was replaced by none other than Johnston. Brian, Johnston and Dunn were all a part of the teams that won 2015 Algarve Cup, the 2016 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament and the 2016 SheBelieves Cup. They were also all part of the 2016 Olympic Team.
Brian and Johnston were key members of the U.S. team that won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Dunn was the last player cut from that roster, but she used that as motivation to have an incredible year in the NWSL, earning the 2015 MVP award and establishing herself as one of the best and most lethal attackers in the league.
Johnston and Brian won the FIFA Women's World Cup together in 2015
“I am so lucky to have this amazing soccer journey with Crystal and Morgan since our youth days, and it's even more special to have a different connection off the field,” Johnston told ussoccer.com.
Fast forward to the Spring of 2017, and all three are established contributors to the National Team. Currently, Brian has 66 caps and six goals, Johnston has 47 caps and eight goals while Dunn has 50 caps and 22 goals, including a team record-tying five in one game against Puerto Rico in Olympic qualifying.
So, after seven years of playing together on the U.S. National Teams (nine for Brian and Dunn), years of personal and athletic growth, there are also some new milestones to celebrate in the lives of the NEW New Kids. It turns out that off the field, the NNKs are all grown up too, and once again, they seem to be doing it all together, almost at the same time.
Twenty-five-year-old Julie Ertz (née Johnston) recently married her college sweetheart, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.
What an amazing day celebrating our love. @brittrenephoto you capture our love in every photo! I can't wait to see the rest. @zachertz my wonderful husband thank you for everything, for loving me unconditionally, for your amazing friendship and for trying to keep up with me on the dance floor. Yesterday was EPIC! #soinloveitERTZ #mrsertz #TheKnot
“It is so crazy to think all three of us have found the person we want to spend the rest of our lives with around the same time,” said Ertz. “Playing soccer professionally is our dream, but it takes away from our loved ones often and distance is never easy, so it’s nice to have someone who understands those challenges and is going through the same thing. It makes it a little easier. We have three lucky men! And that's three super fun weddings! They are all very supportive and huge soccer fans.”
“Us NEW New Kids are growing up fast!” Brian said about her soccer and life journey with Dunn and Ertz. “It’s a really exciting time in all of our lives and it’s fun to be able to witness how we’ve changed and have been molded by the people we have met.”
“I am so happy for Julie and Crystal. We’ve helped each other through the ups and downs of the National Team, which is no easy task, and now we help each other through the process of wedding planning, which could be even more difficult, to be honest. It’s been a fun ride.”